Greetings from the Remains of Chicago

Today, we read that the low-slung dark nightmare on the lake
might be replaced by a cone-shaped white funhouse on the lake.
Still, something on the lake where there should be nothing–
I wish Burnham would come back from the dead, read everyone
a scrap of his plan as he scrapes off so many ticky-tacky barnacles
that belong not to the people but to certain people. I have a theory
that Rahm Emanuel wants me gone, is trying to force me out
by making life here untenable. If you walk three minutes
down certain alleys in my neighborhood, you can still find
an alternate universe of riding toys and barbecue grills,
even clotheslines and people talking to each other.
On the sidewalk outside Cholie’s, under the Metra tracks
(the viaduct, we say here), I once saw two or three pigeons
squabbling over one subpar slice of sausage pizza. This was
not far from where just the other day, someone walked up
and shot into someone’s car and then ran away. Gunshots–
these used to occur just outside the invisible borders of our
island, and lately they happen within them. We all
tell each other about them and ask ourselves
just what the hell is going on. Postcards of our city
still show those sailboats, valiant as anything
mythological, and the lake, still standing there
as always–glassy and stupid, believing it’s a sea.



Prompts: Poetic Asides (a poem about a restaurant/food place), NaPoWriMo (a lengthy list that results in a snapshot of some location), and Imaginary Garden with Real Toads (remains).


14 thoughts on “Greetings from the Remains of Chicago

  1. This is a powerful read. The birds with the pizza and the gunman shooting into a car – I admire the way you compared them. I especially love your closing lines, the lake, “glassy and stupid, believing it’s a sea.” Wonderful writing, as always.

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